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Foresight Nanotech Institute Weekly News Digest: August 16, 2006

In this issue:

Nanotechnology That's Good For People

Foresight Challenge: Increasing health and longevity

Foresight note: This nanoscience research is taking aim at ovarian cancer, which is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women age 35 to 74.

Headline: Nanotech as diagnostic tool
News source: scenta

Nanotechnology is revolutionizing the way things are built — from stain resistant clothing to stronger yet lighter tennis rackets. However, the biggest impact of nanotechnology in the future is expected to be in the healthcare industry.

Researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago are employing state- of-the-art nanotechnology to improve the health of women.

"While the mortality rates of many cancers have decreased significantly in recent decades, the rate for ovarian cancer had not changed much in the last 50 years, primarily due to delays in diagnosis," said Dr Jacob Rotmensch, section director of gynecologic oncology at Rush.

"By exploiting the unique properties of nanotechnology, we hope to detect ovarian cancer earlier using highly sensitive imaging tools and developing drug carriers that can deliver therapeutic agents inside tumor cells."

Foresight Challenge: Increasing health and longevity

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Foresight Challenge: Increasing health and longevity

Foresight note: This research is an example of nanoparticles being used as a drug delivery method. The key thought here is to target drug delivery and therefore lessen overall side effects.

Headline: Nanoparticles could break up plaques in blood vessels
News source: nanotechweb.org

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine, Philips Medical Systems, Bristol-Myers Squibb Medical Imaging and the University of Missouri Research Reactor, all in the US, have used nanoparticles to deliver a drug to artery-blocking plaques that can form in the bloodstream. The technique should enable the use of lower quantities of the plaque-busting drug fumagillin, which can have unpleasant side effects...

"Previously we reported that we can visualize plaques using our nanoparticle technology, but this is the first time we've demonstrated that the nanoparticles can also deliver a drug to a disease site in a living organism," said Patrick Winter of Washington University School of Medicine.

Foresight Challenge: Increasing health and longevity

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Nanotechnology That's Good For The Planet

Foresight Challenge: Making information technology available to all

Foresight Note: This research uses DNA to create nanowires that generate electricity. Applications include sensors, optical devices and computer circuits.

Headline: DNA directs assembly of nanowires
News source: the Engineer Online

A research team led by Brown University engineers has harnessed the coding power of DNA to create zinc oxide nanowires on top of carbon nanotube tips.

The feat marks the first time that DNA has been used to direct the assembly and growth of complex nanowires.

The tiny new structures can create and detect light and, with mechanical pressure, generate electricity. The wires' optical and electrical properties would allow for a range of applications, from medical diagnostics and security sensors to fiber optical networks and computer circuits.

"The use of DNA to assemble nanomaterials is one of the first steps toward using biological molecules as a manufacturing tool," said Adam Lazareck, a graduate student in Brown's Division of Engineering. "If you want to make something, turn to Mother Nature. From skin to sea shells, remarkable structures are engineered using DNA."

Foresight Challenge: Making information technology available to all

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Become a member of Foresight

If you are interested in advancing beneficial nanotechnology, please consider becoming a member of Foresight. With your support, Foresight will continue to be the leading public interest voice for nanotechnology that will focus on using this powerful technology to improve the health and well being of people and the planet.

We have membership levels designed for inclusion of all who are interested in our nanotechnology future whether you are a student, individual or corporation.

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Foresight Partners

Small Times NanoCon International 2006 - Updated Program

September 20-22, 2006
Mandalay Bay Convention Center
Las Vegas, Nevada

Small Times NanoCon International 2006 brings together more than 700 leading nanotech executives for three days of information exchange, fast-track networking, and new business development.

The conference schedule has been updated and includes sessions on:

Nano Transportation
Life of a serial nano entrepreneur
Nanotechnology: Big Potential for American Competitiveness
Nano Electronics
Nano Energy
Building Successful R&D Collaboration between Industry & Institution

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Nanotech Research

Headline: Encoded Metallic Nanowires Reveal Bioweapons

News source: Wiley Interscience

When dangerous infectious diseases or biological weapons are suspected, fast help is required. The first step is a reliable, sensitive, and unambiguous, yet also fast and simple, identification of the pathogen; preferably, this test should be carried out on the spot, not in a laboratory.

Portable miniature biodetection systems that can detect multiple pathogens simultaneously would be ideal for this task. American researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory led by Jeffrey Tok, in collaboration with groups at Stanford University, University of California at Davis, and Oxonica Inc (formerly Nanoplex Technologies Inc) have now developed a new basis for such a multiplex device: they are using silver and gold "striped" nanowires as supports for simultaneous immunological tests for various pathogens. Individual patterns of stripes act in the role of "barcodes".

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Nanotech News

Headline: Classification, Definitions, Properties, Hazards, Risks and Toxicology of Nanoparticles and Nanotechnology

News source: AZoNanotechnology and the National Nanotechnology Initiative

This article was originally written by the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) as a guide for reporters and journalists writing about nanotechnology health and safety risks. It offers good background knowledge for understanding the promises and dangers in nanotechnology.

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Headline: Nanotech Takes On Homeland Terror

News source: Forbes by Josh Wolfe and Dan van den Bergh

Almost five years have passed since the United States and its allies officially declared war on terror. There are only rough ideas and uncertainty on how long this global fight will last—some hope a couple of years, some fear decades.

As the war against terror has expanded in the Middle and Far East, threats of terrorist attacks in the Western world are stronger than ever. The recent foiled attempt of a London-based terrorist group to blow up a dozen planes on their way to the U.S. reminds us of the seriousness of the threats.

In order to increase the chances of winning and minimize the amount of time needed to reach this goal, the U.S. is relying on advances in nanotechnology. The Department of Defense has spent over $1.2 billion on nanotechnology research through the National Nanotech Initiative since 2001. The DOD believed in nano long before the term was mainstream. According to Lux Research, the DOD has given grants totaling $195 million to 809 nanotech-based companies starting as early as 1988. Over the past ten years, the number of nanotech grants has increased tenfold.

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Nanotech Events

nanoTX' 06: The Promises of Tomorrow, The Business of Nanotechnology - Updated Speaker Line-up

September 27-28, 2006
Dallas Convention Center, Texas

nanoTX'06 will draw the top minds in four vital and interrelated nanotech areas of commerce:

Semiconductors NEMS/MEMS
BioMedical - Health Sciences
Defense - Aerospace - Homeland Security
Energy - Chemical - Environment

There will also be an intense study of Trends/Finance/Investing by leading experts of industry.

The 2006 Foresight Institute Feynman Prizes will be presented at nanoTX' 06 on September 27, 2006 at the Exhibitors Reception.

Also at nanoTX'06, Foresight president Jillian Elliott will present on the International Technology Roadmap for Productive Nanosystems.

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Editor's Pick

Dear readers – When reviewing news for this digest, I often read about something that I think is cool, but it doesn't fit within the usual editorial categories of the News Digest. This section highlights a nanotech advance, event or idea that I think is especially cool.

This excellent article provide an overview of and discusses the difficulties in introducing new battery technology to the market. Although the article doesn't solely focus on nanotechnology, there is a section near the end of the article that clarifies the hurdles that nanotech battery applications face in becoming commercialized.

Thanks for reading.

— Judy

Headline: Need for battery power runs into basic hurdles of science
News source: New York Times by Damon Darlin and Barnaby J. Feder

It always seems to happen: Long before it is time to stow your tray table, your laptop battery gives out, and you spend the rest of your cross-country trip reading the SkyMall catalog.

Scientists are having trouble creating long-lasting, safe batteries. What is your wish-list for the portable devices of tomorrow?

In the information age, people want their electronics everywhere they go, and they want them to be on all the time. But they rely on batteries that have not improved as rapidly as the devices they power. Moore's Law, which offers a yardstick for the exponential advances in computer chips, has no counterpart in the world of batteries.

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Join the Discussion on Nanodot

Join the discussion: Nanodot led by Christine Peterson.

Headline: Nanotechnology software enables students to design molecular machines
News source: Nanodot

High school students in the COSMOS program were treated to an early version of the NanoEngineer-1 modeling software for atomically-precise nanotechnology...

If the designs seem ambitious and hard to build — and they should — keep in mind the expected lifespans of the designers. They've got lots of time to see their designs (and these even more impressive ones) become real.

— Christine

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Contact Foresight

The Foresight Nanotech Institute Weekly News Digest is emailed every week to 15,000 individuals in more than 125 countries. Foresight Nanotech Institute is a member-supported organization. We offer membership levels appropriate to meet the needs and interests of individuals and companies.

Judy Conner, Director of Communications at Foresight Nanotech Institute, is the editor of the Foresight Nanotech Institute Weekly News Digest. If you would like to submit a news item or contact her with comments about the News Digest, please send an email to: editor@foresight.org.

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